tv America the Courts CSPAN October 9, 2010 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
somehow, broadcast is different. the government can enforce first amendment implications on a different standard. i think this is becoming a disk -- and increasingly and tenuous distinction. over 94% of americans subscribe to broadcast cable, directtv, -- directv, dishtv. the idea that my children are uniquely subject to broadcast when mind can pop open an iphone and the watching youtube videos and a second -- i just think it is not tenable. it is irresponsible to not a case that would help the
commission and the government understand what the proper parameters of the first amendment are in the modern parameters and not make a big red fences back to the 1960's, the way tv was -- not make vague references back to the 1960's, the way tb was then. >> do you agree with that? >> the challenge for broadcasters in today's multichannel world and the difficulties they are placed in, i think it is a problem. i think it would be helpful if the court clarified that. i also think we need to make sure there are ways that parents can protect their children from programming that they think is not suitable. i think there need to be additional ways for parents to have control over the content coming into their homes. >> such as? >> i think that consumers should have more control over the content coming in and how much they're paying for it. they should be able to choose
different channels that they want and i think that the commission should be concerned about some of the extension of that kind of cable monopoly model over to the internet and the delivery of video content. i think those are some issues to be concerned about. >> same question? >> some of my republican friends are saying that broadcasters ought to be able to broadcast content that is as prurient and salacious as "madmen" or "entourage" or any hbo series. i wonder if you have cleared that with the tea party movement. have you run that by the censorship panel over there? >> i would run it by anybody. the united states constitution lives above any and all political conversation. it lives above anyone group's preference for how it should be. the problem here is not --
you have said this for 20 years -- >> you have said this for 20 years. you have been almost an absolutist for 20 years, at least. >> i think so. >> chairman hundt? >> i had to answer it in real time as my friend did. there was a $1 million fine pending against howard stern. given my edge, you will understand that was in the radio era. [laughter] i called up the man running the business that howard was in and i said, you and i cannot have a productive conversation during my time as the fcc chair if you are not going to pay this fine. as far as i'm concerned, you're basically a scofflaw. we had a very pleasant, very direct conversation, and i thought it was absolutely clear that mel had agreed -- as i want
to be a good citizen, i will pay the fine. he walked right out and appealed. we never had a productive conversation because it was nothing but hammer and tongs in court, and there was a reason. howard stern thought it was much more fun to go on the radio and savings -- say things like fcc chairs ought to get cancer and die. which he did say. he liked his audience to be jacked up about the federal government. it was much more fun than actually being part of a sensible culture, in which reasonable people could discuss things, and in which if you turn on the radio you might not be assaulted by all kinds of fleeting expletives. what you have here is -- there is always an on-the-margin slice
of the content industry that wants to push the boundaries, not because their first amendment absolutist, but because there is commercial opportunity from being the guy running the dirty book store down the road. what do you do about that? it is really important for s.e.c. chairs to -- fcc chairs to be talking to the industry, not in backroom deals, but in public. what do you think are the right morays? not saying the government will regulate you, but how do we establish a way for the culture to go forward so that we're not always dragged down to the lowest common denominator. i think it is a cultural question. kevin, you said that you thought it would be more controlled. i am not talking about secret deals. i'm saying it is a healthy thing to talk about our culture. i do not think that the trends
are particularly great right now. >> i was actually going to add a couple of other points. i think that, just as there are certain obligations that we have been talking about placed on broadcast, they have certain benefits they get as a result as well. one of the things that the current chairman started to debate about is, should we be using some of that broadcast spectrum for wireless mobility, and is there a way to reclaim that in moving to broadcasters? there is another part of that debate as well when you talk about broadcasting. i think we need to talk about that. to the extent that they have certain benefits, they go hand- in-hand with certain kinds of obligations. under the current law, you have to make sure their benefits are protected, but so are the obligations. i think that is one of the reasons why we all enforced law as is and were ready to do that in terms of indecency fines. >> the final thing i would say is, it is much easier from this vantage point than it is when
you are facing the pressures making that decision. adding the chairman would say that as well. wouldthink the chairman say that as well. >> the merger between nbc and comcast is likely to go through. you surprised a lot of people in the telecommunications world with your opposition to that merger. could you explain why? we would like to hear from all of you on this? -- this. >> the merger raises certain concerns and has implications for competitors, and the power that they might have to favor some content over others. certainly, for example, i think that public interests -- the public interest is a critical importance in making sure that independent news operators continue to be able to operate. you then have a cable operator
-- the largest cable operator in the country that would also known one of the competitors in the business-- i think that raises concerns for competitors who could be discriminated against. i think they typically take that into account when you talk about mergers. >> chairman hundt? >> i guess i am old school on this. vertical mergers do not pose the kinds of risks to competition that can be presented in some horizontal mergers. this is a vertical merger. i never thought that it raised any serious issues. frankly, i have not seen anyone in public office in the last year say that there were any serious issues. >> when sbc talked about purchasing at&t, i think that was described as a vertical merger, which you said was unthinkable at the time. >> actually, i am so glad you
raised that. it was described that way by people who wanted to get into the safe harbor of vertical mergers. but it is my poorly-read, but well delivered-speech at brookings where i explained the vertical dimensions of that. it was a horizontal reasons that were the reasons i said it was not -- that it was unthinkable. it was the horizontal competition -- long distance into local -- so that there would be competitors in local -- and it was the whole reason for the telecom act. it was not to vertically- integrated. it was so that there would be competition in long-distance and competition in local. when you look at this merger, this is not about cable and tel co merging in the same market. that would be a horizontal issue. >> i think this raises a really interesting issue. we're talking about having comcast buy nbc.
it is very likely that the sec will agree to that. if a local tv station wanted to buy a newspaper, the probably could not. will today's media ownership makes sense, given the current environment? >> excuse me for interrupting, but isn't no our answer? [laughter] >> i said no six years ago and they took our head off. my two friends will probably agree, but in my view, if you look at every sector of communication regulation, there is no more incoherent collection of rules than the need your -- then the media ownership rules. they are rooted in the market that is decades gone. they are completely drafted exclusively for broadcasting, willfully ignoring the arrival
of competitive alternatives outside the broadcasting environ. the average consumer does not understand that these rules do not even take into account whether cable exists. they do not even take into account whether the internet exists. they do not even take into account whether satellite television exists. that act as a broadcasting lives in a market completely unto itself -- as if broadcasting lives in a market complete unto itself. maybe they made sense 50 years ago when there was no cable, satellite, or internet industry, no vcr, no dvd. all i have ever argued is, look, we can have a debate on how the rules should come out, but the notion of as willfully ignoring genuine or legitimate development in the marketplace only so that we can have a special playground where those who sort of take the media can argue ferociously -- hate the
media can argue ferociously, i just think is intellectually dishonest on the part of the federal government. >> lets, the three of us, tell her the truth about why none of us got rid of the newspaper- broadcast-cross-ownership barriers. why didn't we do it? >> i think we all tried. >> why didn't we succeed? >> i think one thing we ought to point out is that the commission's rule that we adopted when i was chairman actually did go into effect. the administration is defending those. it eliminated the absolute prohibition. >> why did we not just get rid of them? >> the simple reason is politics. >> that is the reason that none of us got rid of them. >> remember one thing -- these other industries are a mild interest to congress. media is their lifeblood. if i were being completely
frank, let me tell you, if you run for office in texas and you are mad at the dallas morning news because there editorializing against you, it will be over your dead body that they get to buy a television station. this market is completely corrupted by the political calculations that go on and are associated with what the outputs of transactions would be. i guarantee you that everyone of us has, at some point, had their surreal conversation with the congressman about one of these rules. the only way you could make sense of it was, if it were liberals, i will be damned if the fox network is going to gain any more authority. if it is conservatives, they are no more pure when it comes to certain newspapers. that is what that is ultimately about. i think that is what it really is. >> i think that the most interesting aspect of this --
talking about the politics versus the substantive. when i was the chairman, then senator barack obama wrote and objected to the removal of the broadcast newspaper cross- ownership rule and objected to the role that put in place. currently, the administration is defending those rules in court, saying that they were prepared for the commission to adopt. >> the real political question, if i may be so bold, it is the citizens united case and the effect that has had on advertising in this election. the fcc, i would assert, does have the following regulatory power -- it can require that broadcasters not run any political advertisements, unless those advertisements reveal where the money is really coming from. >> do you think there needs to be more of that? >> it can do what i just said and it does not. congress can do that, too. the american people, when they're hit with the de lucia -- the deluge of advertising from
corporations that were invented yesterday and are funded by who knows whom, they ought to know where the money is really coming from. it is a disclosure rule, which i think everyone would agree that fcc could adopt or congress could pass in a statute. i think for the american people to not know where these opinions are coming from -- there are certainly not facts in these ads. where are the opinions coming from. for the american people not to know is a kind of fundamental seriousness of speech -- spuriousness a speech that is not helpful to our democracy. >> this is c-span's communicators "," with about 30 minutes left. -- "the communicators," with about 30 minutes left. we have reed hundt, michael powell, and kevin martin.
amy schatz is our guest reporter. >> you are aware of the issues that julius genachowski is dealing with, including in decency and net neutrality. do you have any advice for him on how to handle this? he is getting attacked from all sides. >> we're smiling because we're grateful we are not there. >> i think probably some of the most important advice i got when i was chairman was that you had to be delivered to end -- deliver it in your thinking and in your decision making, but that you moved -- deliberate in your thinking and in your decision-making. reed gave me that advise when i became chairman and i thought it was the most important advice i got. >> i think you hope and pray, when you take this seat, which ultimately proves futile, that
somehow, through your gifts, you will bring collective consensus around difficult issues and you will leave the group -- to lead a group happily to the right results. the reality is this is an intensely-fought industry. even interest groups who are funded at significant levels fight these battles. you should not look for universal acclaim on anything. it is not going to lend itself to that. you have to do kind of what kevin says -- tell everyone very clearly what your core principles are, what you believe in, what you're going to stand for, and you have to act consistently with that, in a predictable way. people will say you're never going to get so when so to do that today might be mad, but there was a certainty -- and to do that. they might be mad, but there was a certainty. there is no solution where people will bring you the right things.
you have to go out there and get dirty. you have to go out there and say -- tried to be a central player in the outcomes. i think net neutrality is a good situation. the chairman has a very tough problem on his hands. my advice to him would be, you have a very powerful bully pulpit. you're soft power might be more significant than your formal power. we need to see you go out there and invest yourself and make clear to all the players what you are -- what are your bottom line is, what kind of things you will accept and not accept, and really help drive this gravy -- crazy plane and get it landed. i do not think you can hope it resolves itself on its own. i think he is weighing in on these things. i have seen these guys each have issues or they had to go out and really put themselves out there and take the risks and try to drive the solution. sometimes it works out. sometimes it does not.
you cannot effectively do the job otherwise. you have to believe your manager of the agency, too. it is an institution. it has to get its work done. all of us, at times, have had to go through the circulation. you guys have one week to get this out of here. the place has got to keep moving or it drowns in the volume that comes in. i think any chairman has to also commit to being an aggressive manager. >> i think julius genachowski has done a great job. the fcc chair, in a sense, is a steward of the information and communications technology sector of the economy. he does not control or regulate all of it. he or she does not want to regulate all of it. in some sense, he is the steward of it. if there are problems in the sector, they need to be fixed. when the obama administration came in, we were in the middle of the worst recession since the
great depression. we have had the inevitable and a tragic corollary, which is millions and millions of people have lost their jobs. construction sector unemployment is well more than 20%. we have st. information communication technology -- the tech companies have come back faster than any other companies. they have continued capital expenditure. wireless companies have moved into 4g. all of this in just the last 20 months. we have seen tremendous growth of social networking and a platform of constantly-upgraded broadband. we have, relative to every other sector, a much brighter story. is it as good as it will be? no. but in the next two years, between now and when the president runs for reelection, we will see more growth, more part -- more productivity gains, more technological advances in the ictc sector. it is the number one test of whether things are heading in the right direction in terms of employment and investment and
they are. >> julius genachowski has changed the conversation. it is now widely accepted that universal service ought to be about broadband. it was never that way before. michael and i used to argue about that 10 years ago. now everyone agrees about that. it is widely accepted that we need more spectrum in the commercial hands. everyone agrees. it is widely understood that we need to have the united states be a leader in advocating for internet freedom and market access for public internet in every country in the world. all of these topics are topics that julius genachowski is either the primary author or one of the principal spokespersons. he is a leader in these respects and others. >> reed hundt, how involved was the clinton in the fcc and decision making? did you have leadership and input from the white house, interest from the white house? >> bill clinton -- i once was in
the oval office and he told me that he thought that i had a nice tie, but that i needed to stand up straighter for the photo. he -- i went to law school with him. he is a brilliant guy, but this particular sector, he repeatedly said that he trusted outboard to give the guidance on the behalf of the white house. -- al gore to give the guidance on the behalf of the white house and he did that. i was in many meetings with al. the very first thing he said to me was this -- it was actually to do things. when he called to say that the president was going to appoint me, i said, i am incredibly grateful. he said, this is liberal, he said do not be grateful, and just do the best you can possibly do. the second thing he said is, there is one thing i want you to try to accomplish -- i would like to see the internet connect
every single child and every single classroom in america to the library of congress. in fact, years later, of things to the critical vote of olympia snowe and the leadership olympia-- thanks to the critical vote of olympia snowe and the leadership of others, something like 90% of the classrooms and 95% of the classrooms to connect not just to the library of congress, but to all other data sources in the world. we're the only country in the world that has had the internet moved into the education sector at the same rate for poor kids as for rich kids. that came from al gore's vision. >> george w. bush -- his involvement with you. >> it was relatively modest. i think there was a similar perception that we appoint
quality people who have the expertise and the foresight to run the agenda. i think people should understand, you are not a cabinet officer. you're not part of the administration. there are even ethical limits to the interactions between the white house and an independent agency. every president -- every white house has the same issue. i think the public assumes there is this never-ending dialogue going on back and forth. for the fact is there is almost rarely that kind of continuous involvement because there are limits to the amount of it as a consequence of what kind of agency you are. in the old days, i have not seen lately -- congress used to be vicious about attacking the commission if it perceives it was in direct correlation with the white house about policy. by design, it is not supposed to be all that much. i happen to be sitting in this seat when the claims -- planes
hit the towers in new york and i think the world changed forever. understandably, you had a white house that had to turn every ounce of its intention to the protection of the american people from the consequences of terrorism. it had a huge effect on what we focused on at the commission. suddenly, i was on a train to new york, trying to figure out how we're going to restore the nation's biggest central office. i spent days with communication experts on how to get the wall street market back on line. these were scary, scary days. now we're talking about as the turks of communication policy. for that time in years to come -- and now we are talking about the esoterics of communication policy. for that time in years to come, that is what the government focused on. i remember three days after that happened, my phone rang and it was reed. he said, mr. chairman, this is
crazy. this is a seminal moment for the country. get on a train and get up there. you should be part of this. i followed his advice. the other thing that happened was the president turned to a lot of people in government and said, we're concerned, i expect you to take care of your sector -- we are consumed. i expect you to take care of your sector in a way that gives us comfort that the government is running effectively without our involvement. >> the white house is actually, typically, only nominally involved in the comet -- in the decisions of the commission. congress is actually much more involved than the administration usually is. >> you have only been out of the chair for a couple of years. when you look back on your chairmanship, what is the one thing that got away that you wish you could have gotten past while you were there -- passed while you were there? >> i have been rooting for the
longest amount of time -- brooding for the longest time. certain decisions i made produced the most famous bankruptcy decision ever decided by the supreme court. i should have settled that case. we had the settlement. i was not persuasive enough with my fellow commissioners. >> the case? >> nextwave. it was clearly the biggest decision that i failed to make, the biggest one that got away. >> what with the results have been, had you been able to persuade your fellow commissioners? >> nextwave was trying to build a national, wholesale network. a topic that has now continued for all the years since and is still the holy grail of certain kinds of entrepreneurial
investors. there is a business now that is trying to do that. the mite -- it might have been more than a decade ago that particular business model would have come into existence. >> i think my greatest regret is all around the media ownership stuff, and not just because it was the most controversial thing that was involved in. i just deeply felt it was embarrassingly incoherent. i deeply felt it was going to distort the ability of premium content to move to digital platforms more effectively, because of the distortion of the rules. i learned a lot. we made a lot of mistakes and the way we attempted to get it done, but i have never wavered in my belief that we were doing the right thing or that alternately time will prove that is where we had to go as a country. i really regret that we did not make better progress. we did get the rule done, but it stayed in court. it has proven to be seven, eight
years of stasis. this is what happens when things fall into the courts. the rules have not been -- kevin did a piece, but this thing is still in limbo. i would a preferred if we could found -- could have found greater -- i would have preferred if we could have found greater collective consensus. these things are still having major effects on whether we can get to what consumers really want. part of it is because we're still so broadcast--centric in the policy. -- broadcast the -centric -- broadcast center in the policy - policy.ast-centric in >> i put forth a proposal but was not able to get the
commissioners to move forward. it was -- i still think that the issue that needs to have more attention focused on it is -- which we could have done more for consumers in terms of their video choices and prices. cable rates have doubled during the last decade. they have gone up more than that if you look better compared to the 1992 cable act when they regulated and then deregulated in '96. they're having to pay a larger and larger amount for a bundle they're not satisfied with. the commission never had the authority. i thought that was an issue we should talk about. i think it is a problem for most consumers. i think more needs to be done. >> on the flip side of that question. what is your legacy? what are you most proud of? >> i think the auction that we conducted in which we both raised significantly more
revenue than had ever been raised and we were able to put in place certain kinds of rules that helped open up the market in terms of changing the wireless industry's perception of being more open to different devices and applications was a critical change in both terms of getting additional spectrum of the marketplace and in changing the way that wireless perceived -- was perceived as a next- generation broadband. i think that was the most significant thing i was able to do. >> mr. powell? >> during my tenure, the internet was emerging as a central condition platform. we worked very hard to reorient the agency toward an innovative, broadband focus across everything we did. most of our initiatives in telecom policy, wireless involved on focusing the or in -- opened agency on where the
girl was going, rather than looking to where it had been -- opens the agency to focus on where the world was going, rather than to looking where it had been. on the television front, the dtv transition was completely stalled. i was very proud of the volunteer plan we put together to help get that moving and ultimately lead -- ultimately led to the return of that transition. i also did the do not call database that allowed people to get people to stop calling them at dinnertime for services. >> i have three things. first i want to say this. i bet i speak for my friends here and for other people who have held our job, what a privilege it was to be chair of the fcc. not only is this a great country, that is a great job in government, because you really
have so many things you can do to try to help the country move along into the future. when we look back at it, i know we all feel that way. what a lucky break to get that job. what are the three things? the internet as a commercial phenomenon emerged the same month that i got confirmed. that is a coincidence. the way that it emerged was called narrow-band, the father of broadband that emerged when michael was the chair. these decisions were made unanimously, meaning republicans and democrats on the commission voted the same way on the things i'm talking about now. we made the decision to have the internet in its salad days just absolutely explode. the technology is what made that possible. when we said that you could take the telephone line out of your telephone and the next it to the
back of your computer and not pay any more to get on the internet -- and connect it to the back of your computer and not pay any more to get on the internet, it was critical to the hyper growth and launched the internet age, which the united states is still the global leader of. we did not know it would turn out to be what it was and has been. it was the right direction. you just try to get the direction right. he will never get all the details right. -- you will never get all the guilty and -- all the details right. we decided to use options to create or robustly competitive wireless market. they raised a lot of money -- create a robustly competitive wireless market. they raise a lot of money. my colleagues maintained that. it is one of the least- regulated sectors in the history of the united states.
it is no coincidence. it translates to a more rapid pace of innovation, development, investment. the third and last, i was part of the team that negotiated the 1997 telecom treaty that in fact established in 16 -- in 69 countries independent regulators that would try to have the authority and the vision to build a global team indications network that linked everyone in the world. we need to upgrade that into a broadband treaty, but it is the right way to go. it breaks down barriers among countries and it lets us the meat -- compete commercially and not militarily. it is the right vision for the future. >> finally, gentlemen, what are you doing today and are you working with telecommunications? reed hundt? >> my children ask me what i am doing, too. tonight, i am flying with my wife to paris to celebrate our
37th wedding anniversary. you'll also find the in silicon valley on the board of several companies. -- me in silicon valley on the board of several companies. >> i also serve on the board of several companies, including tenement -- including telecommunications and media companies. >> i'm a partner in a private- equity firm that focuses on telecommunications and media technology. i am also on the board of c ysco and aol. >> thank you for being on "the communicators." we have gone past our time. amy schatz, thank you for being our guest reporter. this has been "the communicators." thank you for joining us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> you can learn more about the nation's highest court with c-
span's new book "the supreme court." it reveals unique insight about the court, and is available in hardcover wherever you buy books and also as an e-book. >> president obama spoke at a fortune magazine's most powerful women summit. the camp -- he paid tribute to women in business, phalanger become an education, business, and the arts. this is about 20 minutes. -- he paid tribute to women in business, philanthropy, education, business, and the arts. this is about 20 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, to introduce the president of the united states, please welcome chairman of time inc. -- the chairman of time inc.
[applause] >> good evening, everyone. our speaker tonight should be commended for populating his administration with powerful women. four cabinet secretaries in labor, health and human services, and state. two cabinet-level officers at the epa and the un. and is only two appointments to the supreme court. -- his only two appointments to the supreme court. [applause]
i think he has earned the podium tonight. it is my great honor to present to use the 44th president of the united states -- to you the 44th president of the united states. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. >> thank you for doing this. >> hello, everybody. thank you. thank you so much. thank you. good to see you. thank you very much. thank you, everybody. please have a seat. thank you. i am just thrilled to be here tonight with some of the most brilliant, accomplished, influential women in this country. as michelle obama's husband, i feel very much at home. [laughter]
i have three tall, good-looking women on theed second floor. i have my mother-in-law on the third floor. it is a thrill to be here. thank you for that kind and a brief introduction. thank you for your extraordinary leadership. i also want to thank the people who organized a spectacular event. i'm especially pleased to see the young people who are here. we're thrilled to have you. [applause] i also see that my friend warren buffett is here. [applause] i understand that, even though he is a man, he has been invited back year after year, because he knows that the surest path to
success is to serve -- surround yourself with brilliant women. he is a smart guy. [applause] i happen to share that belief and i am pleased to see some of the extraordinary women in my administration who are also here tonight, because i rely on their wives a device every single day. i am tremendously grateful -- their wise advice every single day. i am tremendously grateful. it is not as meaningful to me as president, but also personally. as some of you know, i was raised in part by my grandmother. she just passed away a couple years ago. when i was born, got a job as a secretary to help provide for our family. she only had a high school education. she had grown up in a generation where women were not necessarily encouraged to pursue a college degree and certainly not after they had gotten married and had a child.
but she had an incredible mind and sound judgment. so, over the years, she worked her way up -- without a college degree, just a high-school degree -- to become one of the first women bank vice-president in the state of hawaii. that was an amazing accomplishment, but that position was also her glass ceiling. for nearly two decades, she watched as men no more qualified than she was, in fact, usually men who she had trained would get promoted up the corporate ladder ahead of her. now, i know that, if given the chance, she would have run that bank better than anybody. but she never got that opportunity and she never complained. she hardly ever took a vacation. she just kept getting up and
giving her best every single day. so, tonight, i am inspired to be with so many women who have reached the pinnacle of their profession. that is a credit to all of you, your individual drive and fortitude, because i know you have overcome plenty of obstacles of your own. while we still have a way to go, it is also a testament to the progress we have made as a country, certainly since my grandmother was a young woman. the 75 young leaders who are here tonight are another testament to that progress, because, as you know -- [applause] as you know, these young women went through the city wide selection process to attend this event. on their applications, they were asked to list their career at -- career aspirations. i have a list of what they said. see, we have cultural
anthropologist. >> whoo! [laughter] >> that's a good choice. my mother wasn't an apologist. thumbs-up on that -- my mother was an anthropologist. bums' up on that. u.s. senator -- thumbs-up on that. u.s. senator. professional race car driver. one stated that she wants to be the next bill gates. i do not know why buffett was picked over. [laughter] environmentally scientists. find new ways to find new fuel and resources. doctor, lawyer, and engineer.
[applause] this young lady said, i know this is ambitious, but not impossible. [laughter] so, when we talk about the theme of this year's conference, building a legacy, that is exactly what we're talking about. that is what is at stake -- that spark, that passion, those ambitions, aspirations expressed by these young people. the question is, what are we doing to nurture that promise? how do we ensure that 10, 20, 30 years from now these young women will be sitting where all of you are sitting tonight, with their own mentees, passing the torch to the next generation? what we doing to build a dynamic, competitive, opportunity-rich economy so that they have successful lives and
careers of their own? as some of our nation's top business leaders, nonprofit leaders, leaders in so many different fields, the answers to these questions are going to be largely determined by you. because part of the competitiveness of america's economy, the richness of its cultural life -- it has always depended on the innovation and enterprise of american businesses and american institutions and organizations, on the products you develop, on the jobs you create, and the growth that you drive. this does not relieve government of its responsibility to create the conditions for business to succeed. that is what government does best. those things that no individual or business will do on their own, but that create an environment where everybody can compete. so, that means finding the basic research that drives new
discoveries and sparks new industries. it means upgrading our infrastructure, including things like high-speed rail and internet, so that you can get your products and services to our customers. it means promoting exports, because the more our businesses export, the more they produced and the more jobs they create. it means making sure that our people have what it takes to actually do those jobs. that is what we have been discussing during your conference today and it is what i would like to focus on tonight. because you know, as do i, that our businesses, our institutions, our economy cannot compete unless our work force can compete, unless we harness the potential of every american and ensure that their skills match up to the work of the future. and that starts with education, especially in fields like science, technology, engineering, math.
we cannot sustain -- whoops! [laughter] was that my, uh -- oh, goodness. that's all right. all of you know who i am. [applause] there is somebody back there who is really nervous right now. [laughter] don't you think? they are sweating bullets back there right now. [laughter] where were we? we cannot sustain high-tech, high jobs in america when our young people are lagging far
behind competitors around the world. it is one of the reasons we launched the national competition "raced to the top" designed to raise standards in our school. it is based on a simple idea. instead of just funding the status quo, we're only going to invest in reforms. with the help of business leaders like the ceo of xerox, we have created a new partnership called "changed the equation -- "change the equation," a coalition of leaders who have committed to bringing math and science programs to at least 100 high- needs communities over the next year and includes a special focus on girls, are often under represented in our scientific fields. [applause] i know from talking to malia and sasha, it is just a matter of giving them confidence and they can thrive and succeed in math
and science. somebody has to be there to tell them that they can do this. we also know that, in today's economy, every american will need more than a high-school diploma. when i took office, i set the goal -- by 2020, a merkel and sit and have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world -- america will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. we have eliminated a wistful subsidies to make college more affordable to millions of students -- eliminated wasteful subsidies to make college more affordable to millions of students. millions of women are returned to the workforce and are raising children of their own and they need flexibility in terms of study and advancing careers -- studying advanced careers. we launched a new commission called advancing america's return to connect students with
the right skills with businesses looking to hire. businesses and community colleges match the curriculum with the needs of the board room. the companies hire graduates who show up with the skills that are needed to succeed. but we have businesses from pg&e to united technology to the gap who are supporting this initiative, as have business leaders like my friend helping spearhead this. we want to get the partnerships going in all the states. i hope that companies -- the companies represented here all decide to be part of this program. let's not forget that most of your businesses did not start out as national or multinational corporations. they began as tiny start-ups, dreamt up in garages, or around kitchen tables, by folks who were willing to take a chance on
an idea. when we talk about building a more competitive work force, it does not mean just developing more competitive workers, but developing more competitive entrepreneurship. it means helping them translate those ideas into jobs and strengthening our economy. as any of entrepreneur will tell you, one of the biggest roadblocks they face is access to capital. it is particularly true for women. one recent study found that women high-tech entrepreneurs raise less capital than men do when starting their firms. for all we know, one of those women could have the idea for the next google or apple or hp. but that doesn't mean much if she cannot get the cash to bring the added to market. one of the on to the north that you're honoring this year -- and
entrepreneurs that you are honoring this year, are you here, theresa? [applause] i love her story. she struggled, at first, to get capital for construction company, partly because she was providing for her six kids and caring for her aging parents. she ran out of options. she applied for home-equity loan. this resonates with me, this story. she handed her husband application and said to him, this, but do not read -- sign this, but do not read it. [laughter] per company took off, bringing in more than $16 million in revenue so far this year. [applause] we're very proud of what you have accomplished. folks like her should not have to mortgage their family home to build their family business.
we're working to help people like her with a new tax cuts and more loans. yesterday, the white house council on women and girls hosted a womens' entrepreneurship summit to seek solutions to some of the challenges that women face. i am pleased that the small business administration has announced a new effort to lever the playing field -- level the playing field for women in industries where women are not represented -- are underrepresented. we're working to better train and educate our workers. as we seek to harness the talents and skills of the american people, there is another factor that is too often overlooked -- the structure of our work places, whether they are mobile, flexible, and accommodating enough to give people the opportunities they need to contribute and raise a family.
i want to talk to all of you about this, not as women, or women business leaders, but as business leaders. while this issue may disproportionately affect women, i do not think it makes sense to label it as a woman's issue. not just because plenty of men which they have flexibility to be better fathers to their kids or better sons to their aging parents, but because we know that companies with flexible work arrangements can actually have lower turnover and absenteeism and higher productivity. this is not just a woman's issue, not just the work-family balance issue, but an economic competitiveness issue. that is why so many of your companies are leading the way, increasing things like tell the committee -- telecommuting. taxe working on child care
credits and we're working on it the federal government a model for the policies we encourage. we're creating a mobile work places and flexible schedules and judging employees by the results they get, not the face time they log. it provides a better experience for our employees and helps attract and retain the top talent and provide better service to the american people. in the end, that is really our goal -- to get all of our people doing the very best work that they can. that is how we have always moved forward in this country, breaking down barriers, being inclusive, setting aside the outdated assumptions that keep us from appreciating what each of us has to offer. obviously, that work is not finished. i am not naive about that. i also know that, thanks to decades of struggle and sacrifice, a lot of it quiet and behind the scenes, many of the obstacles that my grandmother
faced no longer exist. today, women make up half of america's work force. the our primary -- they are primary or co-breadwinners in 2/3 of our families. there are vital to our economy. girls like my daughters, young women's like you at this dinner, have opportunities like my grandmother never dreamed of for herself. i want to conclude by telling you a little bit about one of these young women. i believe she might be here. is she here? she is a senior. stand up, wave. [applause] she is a senior in high school. she has faced some pretty serious challenges in her life. her father was killed in an act of violence before she was going -- born.
in her essay, she wrote, "life growing up in southeast d.c. has not been easy. i recently lost count of how many friends and family members i had to say goodbye to before it seemed like it was time." it turns out that she loved math. i hear you are pretty good at math. she is determined to one day become either an engineer or an algebra teacher. she concluded her as a by saying, "when i think about the disadvantages i have in my life, it motivates me to be successful. because i understand that, in life -- [applause] because i understand that, in life, everyone has a purpose and a plan. and every day i see myself getting closer to college and a career."
we are proud of you. we're proud of all of the young women who are here in this room. i want to make sure that our legacy to them is an america where they can fulfill every last bit of their promise and pursue every last one of their dreams and become powerful, accomplished women. so many of you are setting such a great example for them. thank you and god bless you. god bless the united states of america. thank you. [applause] [applause]